Forum für Wissenschaft, Industrie und Wirtschaft

Hauptsponsoren:     3M 
Datenbankrecherche:

 

Robots with lift

14.02.2013
Researchers use combustible gases to power leaping machines

They can already stand, walk, wriggle under obstacles, and change colors. Now researchers are adding a new skill to the soft robot arsenal: jumping.

Using small explosions produced by a mix of methane and oxygen, researchers at Harvard have designed a soft robot that can leap as much as a foot in the air. That ability to jump could one day prove critical in allowing the robots to avoid obstacles during search and rescue operations. The research is described in a Feb. 6 paper in the international edition of Angewandte Chemie.

"Initially, our soft robot systems used pneumatic pressure to actuate," said Robert Shepherd, first author of the paper, former postdoctoral researcher in the Whitesides Research Group at Harvard, and now an assistant professor at Cornell. "While that system worked, it was rather slow — it took on the order of a second. Using combustion, however, allows us to actuate the robots very fast. We were able to measure the speed of the robot's jump at 4 meters per second."

Just as with other soft robots, the three-legged jumping system begins life as a mold created by a 3-D printer. The robots are molded using soft silicone that allows them to stretch and flex.

But where pneumatic robots are connected to tubing that pumps air, the jumping robots are connected to tubes that deliver a precisely controlled mix of methane and oxygen. Using high-voltage wires embedded in each leg of the robot, researchers deliver a spark to ignite the gases, causing a small explosion that sends the robot into the air.

Among the key design innovations that allowed the combustion system to work, Shepherd said, was the incorporation of a simple valve into each leg of the robot.

"We flow fuel and oxygen into the channels, and ignite it," Shepherd said. "The heat expands the gas, causing the flap to close, pressurizing the channel and causing it to actuate. As the gas cools, the flap opens and we push the exhaust out by flowing more gas in. So we don't need to use complex valve systems, all because we chose to mold a soft flap into the robot from the beginning."

While the notion of using combustion to power a soft robot was enticing, it also came with a number of critical questions, not the least of which was whether the soft silicone used to create the robots would even survive.

"It's a lot more powerful, but the question we had to answer was whether it was compatible — were the temperatures compatible — with this system," Shepherd said. "What we were able to show is, because the duration of the explosion is so short, the energies absorbed by the robot are small enough to be compatible with soft robots. What's more, the temperature of the robot increases by, on average, less than one kelvin."

While he hopes to see internal combustion systems developed that can allow robots to walk or even run, Shepherd said jumping made sense as a starting point.

"Because it releases so much energy so fast, it made sense for jumping to be the first 'gait' we explored with this system," he said. "The next step now is to learn how we can use this combustion system for other gaits, like running or even walking."

To see a video of the jumping robots in action, visit: http://news.harvard.edu/gazette/story/2013/02/robots-with-lift/

Other authors on the paper are Adam Stokes, Jacob Freake, Phillip Snyder, Aaron Mazzeo, Ludovico Cademartiri, Stephen A. Morin, George M. Whitesides, the Woodford L. and Ann A. Flowers University Professor at Harvard, and Jabulani Barber, an FAS research associate with the Whitesides Research Group.

Peter Reuell | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.harvard.edu

More articles from Power and Electrical Engineering:

nachricht Linear potentiometer LRW2/3 - Maximum precision with many measuring points
17.05.2017 | WayCon Positionsmesstechnik GmbH

nachricht First flat lens for immersion microscope provides alternative to centuries-old technique
17.05.2017 | Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences

All articles from Power and Electrical Engineering >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Lässt sich mit Boten-RNA das Immunsystem gegen Staphylococcus aureus scharf schalten?

Staphylococcus aureus ist aufgrund häufiger Resistenzen gegenüber vielen Antibiotika ein gefürchteter Erreger (MRSA) insbesondere bei Krankenhaus-Infektionen. Forscher des Paul-Ehrlich-Instituts haben immunologische Prozesse identifiziert, die eine erfolgreiche körpereigene, gegen den Erreger gerichtete Abwehr verhindern. Die Forscher konnten zeigen, dass sich durch Übertragung von Protein oder Boten-RNA (mRNA, messenger RNA) des Erregers auf Immunzellen die Immunantwort in Richtung einer aktiven Erregerabwehr verschieben lässt. Dies könnte für die Entwicklung eines wirksamen Impfstoffs bedeutsam sein. Darüber berichtet PLOS Pathogens in seiner Online-Ausgabe vom 25.05.2017.

Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) ist ein Bakterium, das bei weit über der Hälfte der Erwachsenen Haut und Schleimhäute besiedelt und dabei normalerweise keine...

Im Focus: Can the immune system be boosted against Staphylococcus aureus by delivery of messenger RNA?

Staphylococcus aureus is a feared pathogen (MRSA, multi-resistant S. aureus) due to frequent resistances against many antibiotics, especially in hospital infections. Researchers at the Paul-Ehrlich-Institut have identified immunological processes that prevent a successful immune response directed against the pathogenic agent. The delivery of bacterial proteins with RNA adjuvant or messenger RNA (mRNA) into immune cells allows the re-direction of the immune response towards an active defense against S. aureus. This could be of significant importance for the development of an effective vaccine. PLOS Pathogens has published these research results online on 25 May 2017.

Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) is a bacterium that colonizes by far more than half of the skin and the mucosa of adults, usually without causing infections....

Im Focus: Orientierungslauf im Mikrokosmos

Physiker der Universität Würzburg können auf Knopfdruck einzelne Lichtteilchen erzeugen, die einander ähneln wie ein Ei dem anderen. Zwei neue Studien zeigen nun, welches Potenzial diese Methode hat.

Der Quantencomputer beflügelt seit Jahrzehnten die Phantasie der Wissenschaftler: Er beruht auf grundlegend anderen Phänomenen als ein herkömmlicher Rechner....

Im Focus: A quantum walk of photons

Physicists from the University of Würzburg are capable of generating identical looking single light particles at the push of a button. Two new studies now demonstrate the potential this method holds.

The quantum computer has fuelled the imagination of scientists for decades: It is based on fundamentally different phenomena than a conventional computer....

Im Focus: Tumult im trägen Elektronen-Dasein

Ein internationales Team von Physikern hat erstmals das Streuverhalten von Elektronen in einem nichtleitenden Material direkt beobachtet. Ihre Erkenntnisse könnten der Strahlungsmedizin zu Gute kommen.

Elektronen in nichtleitenden Materialien könnte man Trägheit nachsagen. In der Regel bleiben sie an ihren Plätzen, tief im Inneren eines solchen Atomverbunds....

Alle Focus-News des Innovations-reports >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

IHR
JOB & KARRIERE
SERVICE
im innovations-report
in Kooperation mit academics
Veranstaltungen

Meeresschutz im Fokus: Das IASS auf der UN-Ozean-Konferenz in New York vom 5.-9. Juni

24.05.2017 | Veranstaltungen

Diabetes Kongress in Hamburg beginnt heute: Rund 6000 Teilnehmer werden erwartet

24.05.2017 | Veranstaltungen

Wissensbuffet: „All you can eat – and learn”

24.05.2017 | Veranstaltungen

 
VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
Weitere VideoLinks >>>
Aktuelle Beiträge

DFG fördert 15 neue Sonderforschungsbereiche (SFB)

26.05.2017 | Förderungen Preise

Lässt sich mit Boten-RNA das Immunsystem gegen Staphylococcus aureus scharf schalten?

26.05.2017 | Biowissenschaften Chemie

Unglaublich formbar: Lesen lernen krempelt Gehirn selbst bei Erwachsenen tiefgreifend um

26.05.2017 | Gesellschaftswissenschaften